The chefs at Mt. Adams Pizza are more than happy to let you create your own pizza from their collection of more than 30 toppings—including buffalo chicken, gyro meat, vegan sausage, and roasted red peppers. But they’ve also engineered a selection of specialty pizzas, including the white Diablo Chicken pizza, which they load up with buffalo chicken, blue cheese, and jalapeño peppers. They can craft gluten-free pizzas smothered in vegan cheese, as well as vegetarian-friendly pizzas. Gyros, calzones, and Italian-inspired hoagies round out the menu. The chefs keep cooking until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, when college students are most in need of a study break.
As a young Lebanese man living in Cincinnati, Andy Hajjar found himself longing for the tahini, mint, and feta flavors of his family’s home cooking. Once his mother and brother joined him in the US, the three of them decided to start a deli. Their corner establishment quickly burgeoned into an award-winning restaurant, Andy’s Mediterranean Grill, where they continue to share family recipes without asking relatives to adopt every diner first. Their talent with seasoning lamb—which they grind, chop, marinate, and even serve tartar, if a diner orders in advance—landed Andy on WCPO Channel 9, where he showed the audience how to make lamb burgers. When preparing skewers of charbroiled tenderloin, cilantro-flavored sea scallops, and flatbread pizzas, the kitchen also relies on fresh ingredients and house marinades. Diners can also sip dozens of beers or wines, including some from Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey, as they relish the old-fashioned coziness of a wood-burning stove and the modern joys of a flat-screen television. On weekend evenings, belly dancers appear, and on any evening guests can lounge on black-and-red striped cushions in the wood-paneled hookah room. The Hajjars also sell marinades, salad dressing, and Turkish coffees through Andy’s International Market, which helps customers stock the pantry in their own apartment, home, or sandcastle.
Brewing a good cup is an art form, and Mrs. Teapots has some of the best leaf-steepers in Northern Kentucky. Try sweet or fruity teas such as Bavarian chocolate crème, Forever Yours almond amaretto, and peach apricot, or sip a simple Earl Grey. High-strung leaf drinkers can mellow out with decaf offerings or try whatever unusual brews were just added to Mrs. Teapots carefully curated selection of domestic and imported leaves. One of Mrs. Teapots' friendly servers can help you choose an electrifyingly tranquil tea that dances upon your tongue and steams down your throat to warm you from core to crust.
On the shelves and display racks at Tala's, handbags from Brazil stand a few feet from mandala earrings and ornate hookahs. Around the shop, curated selections of handmade products stand ready to be inspected and taken home. Tala's also follows fair-trade practices, aiming to benefit the far-flung makers of its clothing and accessories.
Gilpin's lets their diners do the work—when it comes to thinking up and naming each of the shop's steamed sandwiches. After that, the kitchen staff gets to work creating the menu's 70+ sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, steamed salads amid a casual atmosphere. It's so casual and rustic, in fact, that it's playful: the restaurant is outfitted with old-school Nintendo system.
In the morning, chefs playfully fold buttery breakfast croissants over piles of cooked eggs, turkey bacon, and pepper jack cheese. During the afternoon and evening hours, the staff builds sandwiches on pretzel buns, French and honey wheat hoagies, and gluten-free bread. They construct grilled cheeses from dill havarti and Doritos, pair veggies with hummus, and top piles of meats—from smoked pulled pork and bacon to roast beef—with hot sauce and garlic cream cheese. But sandwiches aren't the only food steamed by the team at Gilpins. To leave exteriors soft and the cheese perfectly melted, they also steam cheeseburgers, pizzas, and salads.